Belfast Telegraph

Jackson and Olding rape claim student quizzed about kiss

The student who claims she was raped by rugby players Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding has been asked in court about the kiss she had with Jackson before the alleged attack.

She confirmed she consensually kissed him prior to the alleged sex attack - but said that was "not indicative of consent for anything else".

During her fourth day in the witness box at Belfast Crown Court, the 21-year old said the kiss wasn't "that passionate" and ended when Jackson "started to undo my trousers."

The student has accused 26-year old Jackson and his 24-year old teammate Stuart Olding, from Ardenlee Street in Belfast, or raping her in the bedroom of Jackson's Oakleigh Park home in the early hours of Tuesday June 28, 2016.

Jackson has also been charged with sexually assaulting the woman, with all charges denied by the pair.

As her cross-examination by Brendan Kelly QC continued, she was asked if her "focus" back at Jackson's was on the rugby player, and whether she was attracted to him. The woman - who was 19 at the time - said you didn't need to be attracted to someone to kiss them.

She has already told the jury that she kissed Jackson once, returned back to the party, but went back upstairs to retrieve her bag as she wanted to go home. She claimed that at this point, she was then raped by Jackson, before being forced to perform oral sex on Olding.

When asked again about this kiss, she agreed it was consensual. She claimed Jackson instigated the kiss, and when asked if it was a 'proper kiss', she told Mr Kelly "to be honest he sort of lunged at  me."

Mr Kelly then asked if the kiss was passionate, to which she replied: "It didn't last long before he started to try and undo my trousers. It wasn't that passionate."

And when asked by the barrister "If you didn't like him, why were you kissing him in his bedroom?", she said "I'm not entirely sure."

Prior to hearing today's evidence,  Judge Patricia Smyth addressed media reports regarding the presence of Ireland captain Rory Best. She said Mr Best was instructed to attend the trial by senior counsel.

He attended last Wednesday's hearing and was seen in the public gallery - which attracted attention both on mainstream and social media.

She told the jury of nine men and three woman: "You may have been aware of press coverage or coverage of some nature about the appearance at this trial of Mr Rory Best, who I understand is the captain of the Ireland Rugby team.

"I want to make it absolutely clear to you, and I want to make it clear to the public, the only reason Mr Rory Best was in this court last week was because he was directed to be here by senior counsel.

"That's the reason why he was here, and as a jury you should know that."

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